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Why Veronica Scott Wrote RETURN OF DANCER OF THE NILE

Why is the ruler of the city lying to Pharaoh about Kamin’s death?

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Thanks for letting me visit yet again, this time to talk about why I wrote Return of Dancer of the Nile, a paranormal romance set in ancient Egypt (and the 9th book in this loosely connected series).

I love ancient Egypt, as I’ve said before, going all the way back to when I read Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw in elementary school, as well as Andre Norton’s Shadow Hawk. I always felt, however, that a lot more direct involvement by the gods was needed to tell a good story, as well as much more romance.

This book is the second in a duology, with the original Dancer of the Nile being released all the way back in 2013. (The new book can be read as a standalone, with mild spoilers for the first book.) At the time I thought I was done with the adventures of Nima the dancer and Kamin the soldier BUT I was very fond of these two characters and almost immediately starting thinking about a sequel. Why it took me six years to get around to telling the next story, I have no idea. Time flies? Time flows differently in an author’s world? (Because we know from my novels that time flows differently in the presence of an Egyptian Great One…)

At any rate, this year I got fired up, commissioned the fabulous cover from Fiona Jayde and sat down to write. At the end of book one, Kamin was promised by Horus the Falcon he and Nima would die in the same instant, so that was my starting point – what if Kamin was reported to be dead but Nima still lives? I had to figure out how the situation could arise, which meant Kamin had to go on another mission for his cousin, the Pharaoh, to a remote city.

Nima is not going to sit idly by and allow anyone to tell her Kamin has gone to the Afterlife when clearly he hasn’t, because she’s still alive and well in Thebes, so off she goes and her first stop is to talk to the goddess Renenutet and ask for help from this cobra-headed deity. One of the things I enjoy most about writing these novels (and why the subtitle is The Gods of Egypt) is bringing them and their attributes into the story, to interact with the humans the way the ancient Egyptians hoped and believed they did. Egyptian mythology is rich and complex, and pretty much every immortal has a number of stories and legends, so I pick the set of attributes for each god or goddess I prefer for my story and stick to it. So it was fun to see Renenutet and Horus again, and I also brought in a couple of other Great Ones.

No spoilers but I will say it’s tremendous fun to have the “god in disguise” trope to play with…there were ancient Egyptian myths about this occurring, one of the most famous being a time the goddess Isis appeared in disguise at the door of a rich woman.

And one of my key anchors for the plot was that the gods wouldn’t be happy to find someone had meddled in promises they’d made.

And on a slightly related note, Nima has a golden charm bracelet Kamin gave her in the first book. Charm bracelets have been found dating back to 400 BCE (and my books occur around 1500BCE so not too farfetched that the concept existed well before any archaeological finds) and of course the Egyptians were accustomed to making what we might consider ‘charms’ from precious and semiprecious gemstones and metals like gold, often to layer into the mummy wrappings as amulets. So to those who were politely skeptical about Nima’s bracelet, I always do the research first. I have stacks of research books in fact. But I do also consciously introduce some anachronisms to make the stories flow better for the modern reader from time to time.

And one final note (I do so love research) the ancient Egyptians had a numbering system that did go up to a million and they liked to express certain concepts as lasting a million years, for example, so  when my characters talk about a million of this or that, they aren’t playing fast and loose with the language.

I don’t know if Kamin and Nima will go adventuring a third time. I’ve learned not to say the word ‘never’!

About Return of the Dancer of the Nile:  Nima, formerly a tavern dancer in the land of the Nile, has settled into the leisurely life of her dreams as the pampered, beloved wife to a high ranking general who’s also a member of Pharaoh’s court. She’s sworn never to dance for anyone else but Kamin, the man she loves. All is fine until one day news arrives that her husband has been killed in a chariot accident while on a trip to a remote city on Pharaoh’s behalf. 

But as a reward for their previous service to Egypt against a dangerous enemy, the gods had promised Nima and Kamin they’d die at the same moment…so if she still lives, so must he.

Why is the ruler of the city lying to Pharaoh about Kamin’s death? What is the woman covering up? And where is Kamin?

Time for Nima the elegant lady to vanish from Thebes and Nima the skilled dancer to make her way in disguise to the far distant province and fight for Kamin’s life.  She’ll have to deal with angry gods, black magic, an enemy prince and a deadly ghost along the way.

Nima is the only one who can rescue her beloved from the dark fate planned for him by Egypt’s enemies…

NOTE:  Most of the books are standalone stories revolving around the court of my fictional Pharaoh. Return of the Dancer of the Nile can be read without massive spoilers for Dancer of the Nile, however, here’s the suggested reading order for the Gods of Egypt series, based on the general flow over time in my Pharaoh’s reign::

Priestess of the Nile

Warrior of the Nile

Dancer of the Nile

Magic of the Nile (which is the direct sequel to Priestess)

Ghost of the Nile

Healer of the Nile

Lady of the Nile

Song of the Nile (which is the direct sequel to Lady)

Return of the Dancer of the Nile (direct sequel to Dancer)

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Here’s an excerpt: 

“He’s not dead!” Nima hurled the words at the man across the room from her. Her voice held all her fear and anger and she knew this was no way to speak to Pharaoh, the Great One who ruled Egypt but in her grief she’d lost all self-control. She clung to the certain knowledge in her heart that her husband could not have died on the mission he’d been sent to accomplish.

Nat-re-Akhte turned his head and spoke to his guards and retainers. “Leave us. All of you.”

Plainly reluctant to leave him alone with Nima in her present mood, the soldiers saluted and the courtiers bowed and the group exited. Nima held herself together until the door closed and then she fell into the nearest chair, hand over her eyes, weeping. “Kamin can’t be dead. I don’t care what the messages from the city of Nehdet said.”

Pharaoh came to her and drew her into his arms for a comforting hug, as if she was his sister rather than a mere wife to a cousin. “He’s not dead.”

She sniffed. “I sat here all night—all night—and waited to die. The fact I didn’t tells me he’s alive. Horus promised us we’d die at the same time.”

He patted her on the back and allowed her to move away, pacing up and down the room next to the half-finished mural depicting her and her husband playing senet in a beautiful garden. Pharaoh went to a side table and poured them each a goblet of wine, following Nima and forcing her to accept one.

“I apologize for screaming at you,” she said, belatedly aware of her huge breach of etiquette. “If you like I’ll kiss dirt and apologize in front of your entourage.”

“Not necessary. You’re my cousin’s wife and no one passes judgment on my behavior. I’ll be seen as incredibly magnanimous to a grieving widow.” Left unspoken was the fact he’d come wearing his blue military crown, no doubt because Kamin was one of his generals, and they weren’t at the palace in front of all the assembled nobles and bureaucrats. A slip in ritual could more easily be forgiven under these circumstances.

“I should have gone with him despite his objections. We’re a team and I could have watched his back,” she said, leaning against the painted representation of herself on the wall as if her legs could no longer support her adequately. “We argued again on the day he left. Bull headed man.”

About Veronica Scott: 

author photoUSA Today Best Selling Author

Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.

Seven time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances!

 She read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”

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I’m so thrilled to have you back on the blog today talking about your amazing Egyptian series! And I’m glad you’re still writing them! If you haven’t tried them yet, do it now before you forget!

Perilously yours,

Pauline

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